Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Sexual Assault On Women In Pakistan Jail And Deafening Silence Of Ulema, Journalists and Human Rights Activists

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 31 May 2023 Former Member Parliament Says 9th May Violence Orchestrated By Army Main Points: 1. 1.A woman released from Lahore jail has bite marks all over her body. 2. Police exposed private parts to women while arresting them. 3. The police threatened to rape women while raiding houses of PTI leaders. 4. Eye witnesses say Peshawar radio station and the airplane in Mianwali were set ablaze by the Army. 5. Lahore High Court turned down request for providing medical report of Khadija Shah. 6. Announcements from mosques in KPK are being made warning the police of revolt in case of raids on houses. ------ Photo: First India ---- Very alarming and frightening! This is how the law and order situation in Pakistan under Shahbaz Sharif government and the Pakistan Army can be described. Reports that have been pouring in from various sources inside Pakistan show that the Shahbaz Sharif government and the Pakistan Army have lost sanity in their enmity against Imran Khan and in their madness to crush any opposition. They can go to any extent ignoring and disregarding not only their own Constitution but also international convention on human rights. The police have been acting and behaving like the enemy of the people. They have disregarded and violated all laws that they were supposed to protect. The police have been cracking down on alleged protesters who were involved in subversive activities on 9th May when core commander house was set ablaze and Radio Peshawar building was set on fire. The airplane in Mianwali was also set on fire allegedly by the protesters. But while raiding houses of PTI workers and leaders, the police arrested women, threatened to disrobe and even rape them. They beat elderly men and women and even children. When they raided the house of PTI leader and singer Abrarul Haque, the senior officer ordered the police to disrobe his wife. A senior police officer of a city told a journalist on condition of anonymity that his senior officer told him to disrespect, molest and mistreat PTI women so that they will not take part in protests again. While arresting protesting women, therefore, one policemen opened the zip of his pants before the women and said, "See, your dignity is worth this." The police raided the house of singer Salman Ahmad's sister, and arrested his brother-in-law. They raided the house of Shahryar Afridi and picked up his wife. On the midnight of 27th May, the home minister Rana Sanaullah held an emergency press conference and said that the intelligence agencies had intercepted a call of two PTI leaders who planned to rape a women lodged in jail and put the blame on the government and the law enforcing agencies. This press conference raised an alarm among the people and analyst feared that the police might have raped some women in jail and so the home minister had to hold a press conference before the truth came out. People feared that Khadija Shah, a British national and the grand daughter of former Pak Army chief, Sanam Jawed or Taiba Raja, PTI workers, may have been the victims. The police have not disclosed there whereabouts and have not allowed their family members or lawyers to meet. This has caused fear and anxiety among the people and their families. The hearing of the case of Khadija Shah was scheduled for 30th May and her lawyer had requested for her medical report and permission for hef family members to meet her but intriguingly the Lahore High Court rejected both the pleas. This is disappointing. The court seems to be working under pressure from the Army. Now disclosures by the former MNA and a senior PTI woman leader Shandana Gulzar Khan have proved the fear true. She is in hiding and has said that a woman who was released from Lahore jail had bite marks all over her body. This proves claims by Imran Khan and other PTI leaders and workers that women were being sexually harassed and assaulted in jails true. Mrs Shandana says in an audio release: "These women have suffered an inordinate amount of abuse. One particular woman in Lahore complains she has been checked after release from prison and she has reported bite marks all over her body. There are women who have been abused in different ways. They have not been allowed to change their clothing; they have not been allowed food; they have not been allowed lawyers; they have not been allowed electricity; they have not been allowed even bedding. That's the concept that in jail if you are PTI, you will not get medication, you will not get basic toiletries and will have to share toilets with hundreds of other women." In a latest audio clip, a woman says that the policemen are taking women prisoners out and dragging them towards the nearby graveyard. No one knows what happens to them in the graveyard. Actually, Rana Sanaullah knew that this was happening. Hence the midnight press conference. Mrs Shandana has made more shocking revelations, according to a YouTuber Azhar Ali. Mrs Shandana claims that the Radio Peshawar Building and the airplane in Mianwali was set ablaze by the Army. She says that when she was an MNA, anyone passing by the Radio Peshawar had to cross three checkpoints and had to show his identity card to the security personnel. The checkpoints were manned by the force not by the police. Even she had to show her MNA identity card while crossing the checkpoints. But on the 9th May, she was participating in the peaceful protests three kilometres away from Radio Peshawar. All of a sudden they saw the building being set ablaze by a man covering his face. After setting fire to the radio building, he uncovered his face and fired from his automatic gun towards them. Mrs Shandana says no civilian owns an automatic gun. Again she claims that a PML (N) supporter who had witnessed the setting ablaze of the airplane in Mianwali had told her that the DPO himself came, got petrol poured on the airplane and got it set on fire. According to her, even children have witnessed this and it is an open secret that the DPO was himself involved in the burning of the airplane. Similar claims were made by PTI leaders and workers about the arson in core commander house. They claimed that the security was mysteriously withdrawn from the entire area on 9th May and unidentified people with their faces covered had burnt it down. And the police has been cracking down on PTI workers on this ground. The conspiracy is now getting exposed. This is the reason Rana Sanaullah has rejected opposition demand for an inquiry into the 9th May incidents. Dr Yasmin Rashid who was also lodged in jail with other women was released. She said that women will tell their tale after coming out of jail. This gives hint of the state of affairs inside jails. The rape and physical assault on women in jail and arrests of women from homes at night has raised alarm in the tribal area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. People are ready to die to save the honour of their women. According to reports in the social media, announcements are being made from mosques in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa warning the police and the government of dire consequences if they entered their houses and even touched their women. They have threatened to die for their honour and dignity. They have warned the police not to dare to do in Pakhtunkhwa what they have been doing in the Punjab. The activists have been urging the UN and other international organisations to take serious note of the human rights violations in the country especially of the physical and, sexual assault on women and girls in jails and in houses while raids are being conducted. A senior journalist Habib Akram said that he got calks of many parents who told them their sons and daughters were arrested only if they said something in favour of PTI or against the PDM. The religious organisations, the fatwa issuing ulema who keep issuing fatwas of death against each other on sectarian issues have been silent on the rape and physical assault on women and illegal detention of minor children and elderly men and women. The police has arrested more than ten thousand protesters without any evidence and knows that when produced in court, they will be released due to lack of evidence. Therefore, they have been keeping them for longer periods to break their morale. Maulana Tarique Masood, Engineer Md Ali Mirza and Peer Afzal Qadri are silent on the un-Islamic treatment of women. More than 50 ulema had listened the lecture of Maryam Nawaz silently. They can't say anything against the inhuman treatment of women and of protesters by her government. Maulana Fazlur Rahman whom Hareem Shah, a society woman, accused of being a,sexual pervert, has gone to Thailand, amidst severe economic and political crisis in his own country. Critics say he has gone on a private visit to enjoy Thai masage in Pattaya beach. Senior journalists Mansur Ali Khan, Javed Choudhary and Hamid Mir are afraid to speak in favour of the victims. Only some lawyers and some you tube journalists have been fighting for justice. Journalist Imran Reyaz Khan is still missing. The Punjab IG has now said that he might have been taken away to Afghanistan and so they can not do anything to get him freed. It is feared that he has been killed by 'Na Maloom'. It is time international organisations had taken steps to stop human rights violations and physical and sexual assault on protesting women in Pakistan. The OIC and the UN Human Rights Council should take up the issue with the Pakistan government. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Dr. Israr Ahmad And The Islamic Philosophy Of Jihad

By Dr Israr Ahmad 31 May 2023 Transcribed and Translated into English by New Age Islam Staff Writer The philosophy of Islamic Jihad is meant for all ages. Unfortunately, many Muslims hold misconceptions about Jihad, and those who oppose Islam have further demonised and dehumanised it. Recognise that one of the most significant and obligatory commands of Islam is to engage in Jihad. The Holy Quran therefore declares: “The true believers are only those who believe in Allah and His Messenger—never doubting—and strive with their wealth and their lives in the cause of Allah. They are the ones true in faith.” (49:15) Jihad is therefore a crucial and fundamental aspect of faith. However, many people have incorrectly connected Jihad with Qitaal [fighting] and believed that Jihad is the same as fighting despite the fact that the Holy Qur’an employs a distinct word for fighting—Qitaal. Allah says in the Quran: “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His cause in solid ranks as if they were one concrete structure.” (61:4) Fighting hence refers to Qitaal and may also be used to allude to Jihad. Jihad, however, covers a comprehensive sense. Take heed of the details. First of all, I'll make the case that every living organism, regardless of how it gets its life or where it gets it, must fight for it—wage a Jihad—in order to survive. Jihad here alludes to a struggle for existence. If you desire more and someone else wants what you have, there is competition. As a result, one may describe the fight between them as a struggle for survival. It is Jihad in this sense. An adherent of Islam engages in jihad in accordance with the laws of Allah. He acquires wealth through halal, not haram, means. He complies with the divine instructions by using halal rather than haram. This is also a form of jihad. Beyond that, the most fundamental form of Jihad that arises at the level of humanity is the struggle for one's rights, particularly the achievement of freedom and self-determination. This is a struggle, the struggle for freedom, and everyone has engaged in it. Hindus have carried it out. The Muslims have done it. The action was taken by the Europeans. It was accomplished by the Americans who fought a war to overthrow Britain, etc. Everyone has engaged in Jihad, including Muslims. Muslims confronted the Russian army in Afghanistan and forced it to retreat as part of their jihad campaign. What kind of jihad was this, though? This Jihad was a struggle of existence. The purpose of this jihad was freedom. Above all of that is Jihad Fi Sabilillah, or jihad in the cause of Allah. There are also three levels to Jihad in the path of Allah. The greatest form of jihad is to wage jihad against one's Nafs and make it obedient to Allah. The Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked, "O Messenger of Allah, tell me which is the best Jihad?" He replied that your fight against [the evil wills or actions of] your Nafs in order to tame it and submit it to Allah is the greatest Jihad. Similar to how a bob pushes you in a particular direction, the current environment aims to move you in its particular direction. Living in a corrupt society will therefore encourage you to act in a corrupt manner. Therefore, fighting it also counts as a form of jihad. There are two ways to deal with your environment: "Zamana Ba Tu Nasazad Tu Ba Zamana Saaz" (You should adapt to the times if they are not to your favour) and "Zamana Ba Tu Ba Zamana Satez" (If the times do not adapt to you, then be ready to fight against it). If the time does not harmonize with you, oppose it, maintain your position, and choose your own course of action. Defeating incorrect concepts is a more effective form of Jihad. Of course, there are also false ideologies and misleading religions. The crooks are waving their flags proudly. One concern is the way people think in the west. There is a lack of religion and spirituality in today's materialistic world. Therefore, it is now Jihad to disprove these false presumptions, flawed paradigms, and corrupt ideologies. It will require both time and effort. Learn what Bertrand Russell said first. What did Jean-Paul Sartre say? What is so-and-so's philosophy? What is the philosophy of Plato? How much of what they've said is true, and how much of it is false? Now, if anything has to be nullified, you can do so. You will also need to research various religions. This is Jihad in all its manifestations. It demands time, effort, ability, and night-time awakenings. An ability must first be acquired in order to be used. The ultimate aim is to establish the system of Allah. The Deen [Religion] refers to a comprehensive system of beliefs and encompasses all facets of life. The real religion is this. Three times in the Holy Qur'an, it is said that we sent the Holy Prophet solely for the sake of our religion's dominance over all others. It goes without saying that an invitation will be extended initially. Everything must be accomplished. Those who accept the religion will next receive training. They must be ready in advance. Then an organisation known as Hezbollah (the party of Allah) will appear. They will engage in Jihad against the fraudulent system, which at this stage possibly involve fighting [Qitaal]. None of the prior Jihads involved fighting, going to war, or using weapons. But when we get to this level, we find that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) spent thirteen years preparing for this Jihad. He initially invited individuals, preached to them, and trained those who embraced Islam. After all of this, he and his group raised the sword in opposition to the flawed system. The suggestion is to use some alternative methods in place of the sword. This indicates that a people's movement could form to alter the system through agitation and protest movements, which must be led by a strong party and should be nonviolent. There are numerous examples of them in the world today. Even at this level, the only alternative is not war. After reaching this point, fighting might break out. That war will then be legitimate and carried out in the cause of Allah. To achieve this, though, each step will need to be followed, along with a backup plan. Jihad must therefore navigate all of its stages and processes. There must an alternative as well. That alternative is a nonviolent public movement, or one-sided war for which humans come out. Anywhere you engage in civil disobedience, you may undoubtedly come under fire, therefore prepare to lose your life without endangering others. The entire situation is possible. This is the idea of Jihad, and according to the Qur'an, Jihad is an essential component of faith. The Qur'an does not promise the prosperity and success of man or the hereafter in the absence of this Jihad. Accordingly, it is mentioned in Surah As-Saf: “O believers! Shall I guide you to an exchange that will save you from a painful punishment? ˹It is to˺ have faith in Allah and His Messenger, and strive in the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives. That is best for you, if only you knew.” (61:10-11) There is no assurance from us that you will be spared from this harsh punishment if you don't accomplish this. The highest position of this Jihad, according to the same Surah, is Qitaal [fighting] when a soldier approaches the battlefield with his life in his hands or on his palms. Allah says in the same Surah: “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His cause in solid ranks as if they were one concrete structure.” (61:4) Allah loves those of His servants who fight in His path, risk their lives in the process, and show up on the battlefield to confront falsehood. It appears to be the top rank. Speech link: URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Don't Let Your Freedom Be Trammelled By Any Force

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 31 May 2023 "Heaven sent down a decree Declaring that every man is free " John Dryden "Uneasy is the head that wears a crown." William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2 "Tere Oonche Mahal Mein Nahin Mera Guzara Mujhe Yaad Aa Raha Hai Woh Chhota-Sa Shikara " Rafi, Film: Jab-Jab Phool Khile (1965) Lyrics: Anand Bakshi Music: Kalyanji-Anandji "Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. " Jalaluddin Rumi The Emperor of China sent ambassadors to a hermit living in the northern mountains. They were to invite him to become Prime Minister of the Kingdom. After many days of travel, the ambassadors arrived. The hermitage was empty! But nearby in the middle of a river was a half-naked man, seated on a rock, fishing with a line. Could this be the man the Emperor thought so highly of? Inquiries at the village proved it was. So they returned to the riverbank and, as respectfully as they could, attempted to attract the fisherman’s attention. The hermit waded through the river and stood before the messengers barefoot, arms akimbo. “What’s it you want?” “Honoured sir, His Majesty the Emperor of China, having heard of your wisdom and your holiness, has sent us with these gifts. He invites you to accept the post of Prime Minister of the Realm.” “Prime Minister of the realm?” “Yes, respected Sir.” “Me?” “Yes, respected Sir.” “Is His Majesty out of his mind?” said the hermit as he roared with uncontrollable laughter to the discomfiture of the ambassadors. When he was able to control himself, the hermit said, “ Tell me-is it true that mounted over the main altar of the Emperor’s chapel is a stuffed turtle whose shell is encrusted with sparkling diamonds?” It is, venerable sir.” Now take this turtle here, wagging his tail in the muck. Do you think this little fellow would change places with the turtle in the palace?” “No, he would not.” “Then go, tell the Emperor that neither would I. For, no one can be alive on a pedestal. You can’t bind a free spirit. Marcus Aurelius, 121 Ad-180 Ad, the philosopher-emperor (a very rare combination indeed! He was last of the five good Roman emperors and was one of the greatest Stoic philosophers of Rome), said, “Like a hawk, which requires the unlimited sky to fly and soar high, a truly enlightened person needs the boundless space to exercise his wisdom and freedom.” You cannot pigeon-hole a free man as he has no desire to be associated with anything and no fear to be restricted by anyone and any force. Only a free man is fearless, but is there anyone free? “My god died young. Theolatry I find degrading, and its premises unsound. No free man needs a god; but was I free?”(Vladimir Nobokov, “Pale Fire”). To be free is to be enlightened and evolved. The first step to spirituality is to be free of all prejudices and preconceptions. Freedom from all beliefs is the attainment of the highest and the most sublime objective. British philosopher and rationalist John Locke’s Tabula Rasa (mind like a clean slate) is the desirable state to realize the ultimate. We're all born free but everywhere, we're in chains. We need to break all fetters to be free in spirit, body and mind. In fact, human spirit is indomitable but we have disabused it to be under duress and incarcerated. We have devalued, defiled and degraded it. The French existentialist Jean Paul Sartre aptly said, ' Man is condemned to be free.' Look at his apposite choice of word: 'Condemned' to be free, not just 'destined' to be free. To be free is our collective and ineluctable fate, not just individual one. Freedom is a comprehensive notion. It doesn't come in parts. A free man is free in all aspects and respects. In short, freedom unshackles and emancipates you to soar high like a kite in the firmament of life. A truly free man is free from country, colour, continent, creed, caste, culture, class, civilization, contour and competition. In other words, a truly emancipated individual is free from all coarseness and competes only with himself/herself. Nothing can fetter that person. Exercise it to the hilt and celebrate your unbounded freedom, which's your inalienable birth right. Don't let it be trammelled by any force and surge ahead on the path of life alone with the help of none because if you tie two birds together, they'll not be able to fly, even though they now have four wings! ---- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Is There A Bhagwa/Saffron Love Trap For Muslim Girls?

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 30 May 2023 Is There Truth To Such Allegations Or Is It Being Used To Police Muslim Girls? Main Points: 1. Talk of “Bhagwa love-trap” is increasing within the Muslim community 2. The allegation is that Hindu men are being trained to trap Muslim girls with the express intention of converting them. 3. Regressive maulanas are fanning this conspiracy theory without citing any source for their fantastic claims 4. Videos have emerged which show gangs of Muslim boys policing and harassing Muslim girls just because they happen to be with a Hindu boy ------ We have all heard about “love jihad”, a sinister narrative designed by the Hindu Right which argues that Muslim men are on a mission to convert Hindu girls by various means. The allegation is that Muslim men pose as Hindus initially and once they get married to Hindu girls, they pressurize them to convert to Islam. This story of using love as a tool of conversion was initially told by some churches in Kerala but it gained considerable traction in North India. Various state governments enacted stricter laws to “safeguard” Hindu women from falling into the trap of Muslim men. All such advertised cases though turned out to be completely false. Hindu women came on camera to state that they had married and converted out of their own will; that there was no luring or force involved in the process. It does not help that the Muslim religion insists on conversion if one of the spouses is from any religion other than that of Ahl-e-Kitab, People of The Book. Normally, the Hindu religion too should be included in the list of Ahl-e-Kitab, but Muslim clerics' sense of superiority over other religions keeps them from following the Holy Quran. They include only Christianity and Judaism in this list, although Quran said there are no people on earth who were not sent prophets and no prophets who were not given revelations. It's these revelations that constitute Books when they are collected. There is no debate about the necessity of insisting on this practice of converting to Islam any spouse other than from Ahl-e-Kitab within the Muslim community even after so many centuries. Through the social media, we have been made aware that now there is a “reverse love-jihad” going on in our country. Called the “Bhagwa/Saffron love-trap”, the basic parameters of its definition is a carbon copy of “love-jihad”. It refers to Hindu boys posing as Muslims in order to lure Muslim girls and ultimately convert them to Hinduism. Over some years, this fear of loosing girls to the “other side” is gaining traction. We have seen that love jihad was a bogey, designed to defame the Muslim community. But what is the veracity of “Bhagwa love trap?” It appears that even in this case, there is hardly any reliable data to ascertain the claims that the Muslim side is making. It is true that certain Hindu organizations from time to time have been speaking in public about “claiming” Muslim girls as if these girls are not human but property. From the portals of various Dharam Sansads, we have heard things about Muslim girls which should put any democracy to shame. At the same time, they also instill a certain fear within the Muslim community regarding their future in this country. Added to this is the huge reluctance on the part of the ruling establishment to prosecute those who are indulging in such vicious propaganda with the express intention of de-humanizing the Muslim community. We have seen this depravity and loss of a moral compass when some Hindu youth decided to “auction” Muslim girls online. Despite claims of belonging to the lofty ideals of Sanatan tradition, it is clear that for some of these Hindu organizations, the model of emulation has remained the Islamic State, who were selling and buying female slaves in Syria. Such Hindu right-wing rhetoric of converting Muslim girls might have some willing executioners but is it true that there is grand conspiracy behind this? The Muslim social media is rife with such allegations, blaming the other side (read Hindus) for planning to divest their Muslim sisters of their revealed religion. However, after watching many such posts, one does not get to know the source of this information. Neither is there any way to verify the claim that “thousands of Muslim girls have already been converted” by organized gangs of Hindus. All such videos refer to some of the speeches that have been made by “our religious leaders.” Therefore, in all probability, the source of such information are the speeches of various Ulama. One such video is that of Sajjad Nomani, the spokesman of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board and an influential religious scholar. In this video, he makes certain startling claims, but doesn’t care to tell us what is his source of information. Some of the claims that he makes are: - Eight lakh Muslim women have become apostates after marrying Hindu men - RSS has created and trained a large team of Hindu men and women for this purpose - To achieve this end, Hindu men are put into training where they learn to speak refined Urdu and even say Inshallah and Mashallah - Each “successful” Hindu man is given 2.5 lakhs and is helped in getting a job, etc. - This is a big conspiracy against Muslims and Islam and billions of dollars are being pumped from abroad and within the country for this purpose. However, to repeat, Nomani does not cite a single source to back his claim. Perhaps he thinks that there is no need of doing so. After all, his followers have been lapping up the allegations made in the video and presenting it as sacred truth. It appears that the source of all such feeds flooding the Muslim social media is the video of Sajjad Nomani itself. One is certainly not saying that everything that Sajjad Nomani is saying is bogus. However, not citing any source for his claims amounts to fear mongering. At a time when Muslims are already in a beleaguered state, instilling more fear and insecurity in them is a recipe for social strife. But let us suppose that all such claims are true. Then what should be the Muslim response to it? The best response which any enlightened community would take is to better educate their girls so that they have the capacity to make informed decisions about their partners. However, it is unfortunate that the Muslim community’s response if that of increased policing of girls, which borders on plain harassment. There are videos proclaiming schools and colleges as sites where Hindu men are meeting Muslim girls and Muslim parents are told to keep a watch on their daughters. They are being told not to give them mobile phones as it the major source of this fitna. And they are being told to send their daughters to Muslim only schools so that they do not meet boys and girls from another religion. Groups of Muslims boys have already assumed the responsibility of rescuing their “sisters.” This has taken the form of naked vigilantism as being reported from some parts of the country. A video from Madhya Pradesh tells the harrowing tale of a Muslim girl and a Hindu boy who were out together. A group of young Muslim men surround them and question the girl’s ‘purpose’ of hanging out with a non-Muslim boy. The girl, tries to take issue with the mob but is quickly silenced by ferocious male voices. They tell her that she is besmirching the name of Islam. The boy, shaking and shivering, is slapped and abused. In the last couple of weeks such videos of Muslim vigilantism have worryingly surfaced from Aurangabad, Patna and Meerut. In the name of stopping “Bhagwa love trap”, the action of such Muslim groups is nothing but the desire to police women’s movement with the ultimate objective of domesticating her. We already saw this third-rate masculinity at work during the so-called love jihad campaign where Hindu girls were similarly policed and harassed by Hindu men. Thankfully, there were a number of Hindu women who spoke openly against this intimidation. But when it comes to Muslims, the number of girls in arena of higher education is already miniscule and hence we might not see the kind of resistance which we saw within the Hindu society. The singular effect of this rabid vigilantism will only result in the further exclusion and marginalization of Muslim women. Muslims need to realize that such vigilantism might even become counterproductive. Young men can brag about the fact that they stopped their ‘sisters’ from meeting men from other religions, but Muslim girls will certainly construe this as one more effort to block their progress. Finding a dead end, some of them would naturally start to detest this religion and start to look for an exit. These apostates will not be created because of a sinister design by the Hindus but simply because of the hooliganism perpetrated by their “brothers in Islam.” ------ A regular contributor to, Arshad Alam is a writer and researcher on Islam and Muslims in South Asia. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

"Western Liberal Values Are Compatible With Islam": Dr. Adis Duderija

By Dr Adis Duderija for New Age Islam May 28, 2023 "There are significant signs that Western Muslim identity is becoming a reality for many Muslims in the West," says a senior lecturer at Griffith University in Brisbane. Jasmin Alibegic in conversation with Adis Duderija ,May 2023 ---- “Any kind of religious extremism is very harmful in the modern world, as it is based on the idea of one truth, one identity, dogmatic thinking, and often different forms of supremacy. It is based on a narrow view of the world that does not value participation in interreligious and intercultural dialogue and delegitimizes any form of significant diversity of thought, culture, and practice. Additionally, it lacks ethical and ontological beauty and is based on a very ugly concept of God/the Divine," says Dr. Adis Duderija, a senior lecturer in Islam and Society at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. His academic research is focused on contemporary Islam, with a particular emphasis on the theory of progressive Islam, which he has written about in detail in two monographs: Constructing Religiously Ideal 'Believer' and 'Woman' in Islam: Neo-Traditional Salafi and Progressive Muslims' Methods of Interpretation and The Imperatives of Progressive Islam. A form of Islamic theology of liberation "Progressive Islam denotes a cosmopolitan, future-oriented Islam that is based on rationalistic and contextualistic approaches to theology and religious ethics. It is an Islam that is in line with contemporary discourses on human rights and gender justice. These are its characteristic features," he explains. "At the level of major institutions, progressive Islam is not present in the Muslim world, except perhaps in some sections of Nahdatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah in Indonesia and in some parts of Morocco and Tunisia. Progressive Islam is best manifested in the work and values of progressive Muslim scholars-academics, small non-governmental organizations, activists for social and gender justice, and public intellectuals, who can be found all over the world, many of whom are women," the interviewee says. Speaking about contemporary Islam in global terms, taking into account wars around the world, he says that "generally speaking, contemporary Islam largely serves various forms of political authoritarianism, militant fanaticism, and various traditionalist and puritanical approaches to religion." "What we need today is a form of Islamic theology of liberation," Duderija believes. According to him, the process of building the identity of Western Muslims has already taken place through various forms of institutionalization of Islam in the religious, educational, legal, and socio-cultural spheres, which began in the 1990s. Importance of adhering to cosmopolitan Islam "There are significant signs that Western Muslim identity is becoming a reality for many Muslims in the West, especially for the majority of Muslims born in the West, who feel very comfortable being both Muslims and Westerners," says Duderija. He continues that to the extent that hatred is legitimized and based on the use of religious language and appeals to religious symbols and history, the role of religious leaders as well as ordinary believers is crucial. "All believers must be reminded that the most important messages of any authentic religion are the respect for the dignity of every human being and that the primary role of religions is to create conditions for human progress (justice, peace, compassion, and equality), regardless of religious and other differences. The best way to fight Islamophobia is to adhere to cosmopolitan Islam, which accepts religious pluralism, multiculturalism, gender equality, and the idea of active citizenship," the interviewee says. He also raised the question of whether it is really "the European Union's problem to integrate two million Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina," which was previously stated by Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister. "The vast majority of Bosnian Muslims adhere to a form of Islam that does not represent a threat to the values of Western liberal democracies. On the contrary, they believe that these values are not only compatible with their way of thinking about Islam, but that they are actually 'Islamic' values. The official religious leadership in Bosnia and Herzegovina should try to integrate and engage in regular dialogue with Bosnian Muslims who have a puritanical approach, with the hope that they will change their approach and understand that Western liberal values are compatible with Islamic values." "Islamo-Christian civilization as a historical reality" According to him, interreligious dialogue is important because it is the best way not only to learn about others and learn from others, but also about one's own tradition and oneself. "No religious tradition has direct access to the transcendent Truth, and all are partial expressions of human longing for the Divine, so dialogue helps to open up our theological horizons. Moreover, religions in the Balkans (but also generally in relation to Islam-Western civilization interactions) have much in common - both theologically and culturally. These similarities, particularly among Muslims and Christians, are beautifully explored and advocated in one of my favorite books by Richard Bulliet, who speaks of the Islamo-Christian civilization as a historical reality when thinking about the civilizational interweaving between Latin Christianity and Arab-Islamic civilization," says Duderija. Undoubtedly, he continues, people from the Balkans have inherited a special history of interreligious relations, which has not always served the best interests of all, and religion has played a role in justifying positions and beliefs that have harmed the religious Other. "Interreligious dialogue offers a great opportunity and promise to respectfully and truthfully engage with this history, including the recent one, to connect people, appreciate the humanity of others, and acknowledge the harm done, with the conviction that a better future is possible and desirable," says the interviewee. "Prevalence of puritanical intellectual currents" Commenting on the position of Muslims in Australia, Duderija notes that there have been several waves of Muslim migration to the country, and they currently make up the second-largest religious group, representing almost 3.5 percent of the total population (700,000). They come from at least 150 cultural and ethnic backgrounds, so Muslims in Australia are very diverse. "In a recent national survey of Muslims that my colleagues and I conducted three years ago, we found that the vast majority of Australian Muslims are well integrated and well-educated. About two-thirds describe themselves as liberal and/or progressive. There are many imams in Australia compared to the total Muslim population, and most of them are conservative/traditionalist. Some have a puritanical Salafist attitude. I think that is one of the biggest challenges for Australian Muslims (but also for Muslims globally), which is to create liberal and progressive imams." "Shift in the broader social and political context" Furthermore, he outlines the modern challenges facing Islam and what needs to be done in the future. "Among the most significant are the continued dominance of traditionalist and puritanical intellectual currents, especially at the level of major religious institutions, unstable socio-political environments, economic deprivation, and a lack of religious educational and institutional reform. Islamic theology, Islamic ethics, and Islamic law need to undergo a significant epistemological shift away from the emphasis on texts and methodologies that are currently considered Islamic orthodoxy. There needs to be much stronger participation in modern sciences, including the field of philosophy of religion, (religious) ethics, legal philosophy, and critical historical approaches to religion," says Duderija. He also points out the need to rediscover Islamic aesthetics, rationalistic philosophy, and cosmopolitan and gender-just presentations of Islamic mysticism. "Yes, this shift should be supported by institutional reforms, including the development of new educational institutions that offer a more diverse and critical curriculum, the promotion of gender equality and greater participation of women in religious leadership and scientific work, and the development of new and more inclusive models of religious authority. In addition, there needs to be a shift in the broader social and political context, including the promotion of greater social justice, economic development, and political stability. This requires active Muslim participation in the public sphere, the development of a stronger civil society, and greater interreligious and intercultural dialogue. Finally, the transformation of Islamic thought and practice requires a comprehensive and multidimensional approach that involves religious and secular actors, as well as a commitment to critical thinking, dialogue, and reform," Duderija concludes. ---- Dr Adis Duderija | Senior Lecturer in the Study of Islam and Society, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science ; Senior Fellow Centre for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue. Griffith University | Nathan | QLD 4111 | Macrossan (N16) Room 2.27 Source: "Western liberal values are compatible with Islam" URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Love Makes One Introspect

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 30 May 2023 "Amora En Quist En Suit Delina." -An ancient Greek proverb, actually a line from Sappho's Fragments (Love deletes all negativity) Hai Isi Mein Pyaar Ki Aabroo Tu Jafa Kare Main Wafa Karoon Lata Mangeshkar, Film: Anpadh (1962) Lyrics: Raja Mehdi Ali Khan Music: Madan Mohan "Whoever kills a person not in retaliation for a person killed, nor (as a punishment) for spreading disorder on the earth, is as if he has killed the whole of humankind." Quran, Surah-Al-Ma'idah- 5:32 The gruesome murder of a young girl, Saakshi, in Delhi by her alleged lover, Sahil, has triggered a tsunami of thoughts and emotions in my heart and mind. I wonder, how can you kill a person whom you claim to love? There's a beautiful saying in English: Love me love my dog. It suggests that when you love someone, you must accept that person with all faults and flaws. In fact, the best thing about true love is that it ignores and overlooks the flaws of the other person. So long as one remains stuck in counting the mistakes of other/s, love in its true essence can never flourish. Every individual is flawed and imperfect. There's no exception to this universal observation about human nature. If we keep looking at mistakes and errors in others, when will we love? Life's too short to know even oneself, let alone others. Here I'm not limiting love to a mere man-woman relationship. I'm talking about love as an all-encompassing, universal idea which widens the horizons and sweeps away all negativity. Love indeed brooms off all that's NOT positive. Laotse beautifully summed it up, 'LOVE IS IN LOVE WITH LOVE.' It's the most beautiful thought ever expressed about love. M K Gandhi's son, Devilal, requested the government of India to forgive Nathuram Godse and others for killing his father and the 'apostle of peace'. Coretta King, the widow of the 'American Gandhi' Dr Martin Luther King Jr., requested the President of the US to forgive James Earl Ray, who assassinated her husband. Jesus on the Cross forgave those who crucified him. The Arab mystic Mansoor Al-Hallaj helped those who were finding it hard to peel off his skin! He told them to unpeel the skin from the neck because it's the place where the human skin is the most tender!! Love has no time for fault-finding and any kind of bitterness. It goes beyond selfish motives and sees the other person as its mirror image. This is the beauty and loftiness of love that when you're gifted with it, you see all creatures, not just human beings, as your extensions with hardly any difference. To a loving heart, everyone is his/her alter ego. That's the reason, when you truly love someone, you cannot be revengeful and can never think bad of the person who has walked out on you. Khalil Gibran says so poignantly, 'At love's home, there's no room for revenge and hatred. The zephyr of universal love wafts into my haven.' Love elevates you above all pettiness and fills you with kindness even for those who wronged you. It mellows hearts and melts hate. Love is all inclusive, all embracing and truly universal in spirit and essence. There have been cases where the dogs saved their masters who used to beat and kick them. Can't we be better than dogs on this count? French existentialist Jean Paul Sartre stated in his language of oxymoron, 'Man is condemned to love.' He indeed is. The story of a man who tenderly picked up a butterfly from the path while being led to the hanging has always warmed my heart. It's also made me think, why can't I think so compassionately? Why did I curse and could not bless those who weren't good to me? Perhaps I've a long way ahead to reach that stage or will I ever reach? That's the question I've begun to ask myself as time is gliding by. My favourite Rumi says in Turkish, " Ke Phin De Mana Rek Alji" (Love makes one introspect/ Phin was love in Ottoman Turkish). Now it's time for all to introspect whether humans are indeed guided by love? Hasn't bitterness or hatred become too overwhelming an emotion to eclipse the love in human hearts? Love also makes us introspect as to where have we all gone wrong? Instead of dwelling upon whether or not Allah is capable of lying as Deobandis and Barelvis will argue till the cows come home, it's time to ask whether the same god or Allah has been able to fill the coffers of our hearts with love for humanity. Remember, our love for god/Allah and His love for humankind are all impractical discussions and useless 'spiritual' indulgences that may yield cipher. What's most important is the possible realization of our love for all the creatures, not just humans, on earth. That'll make us humans. Nothing else. ---- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Monday, May 29, 2023

Is God Bound To Tell Us The Truth? This Old Theological Controversy Has Deep Implications for Present Secular Muslim Society and Polity

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 29 May 2023 The Dominant School within Islam, the Asharis, Have Never Been Able To Satisfactorily Answer This Question Main Points: 1. The Ashari have always argued that everything comes from God; that objects and acts do not have intrinsic qualities 2. It follows from this philosophical position that God is beyond good and evil and that He is not duty bound to tell us the truth always 3. Ghazali and Fakhruddin Razi have also written on the issue; in the Indian context, there is long debate on the issue going back to the 18th century 4. Theological issues are ultimately about the organization or re-organization of society and polity ------ Long years ago, a Barelvi madrasa principal told me that the Deobandis believe that Allah can lie. Being a Barelvi, he had a different opinion of course. Attributing something which is inherently defective to the Almighty can never be justified, the Barelvi Alim told me. The elders of the Sunni (Barelvi) Tanzeem, he told me, were therefore right in arguing that Deobandis are outside the pale of Islam. Since Islamic studies was not my forte, I did not pay particular attention to the theological arguments which this Alim was making. I thought that this was another addition to the multiple ways in which differences were created and boundaries drawn between different Masalik in the Muslim society. However, it appears that this is a pretty ancient problem (Mas'ala) that the Ulama have been grappling with. The problem is this: if God is all powerful and there is nothing that he cannot do, then theoretically it is also possible that He could lie. In the context of my discussion with the Barelvi Alim, he told me that the Deobandis argue that it is within the powers of Allah to create another Muhammad, the prophet of Islam and the seal of all prophets. He, however, believed that since Allah has already said that the prophet is perfect (insan al kamil), there can be nothing which is beyond perfection. By extension, arguing that Allah can create another Muhammad is tantamount to lying and blasphemous because it is casting aspersions on the very word of God. Actually, the Deobandis were the not the ones to start this debate of the possibility of creating another Muhammad (Imkan-e-Nazir-e-Muhammadi). In the Indian context, this debate started with the publication of Shah Ismail’s Taqwiat ul Iman, in which he argued that it was well within the power of God to create another Muhammad, since all powers of Muhammad were vested in him by God in the first place. The Deobandis do not consider Shah Ismail as one of their own, but in the eyes of the Barelvi Alim, such distinctions get blurred. But what is important to understand is that this was not a trivial matter and this can be gauged from the fact that prominent Ulama of the time, including Imdadullah Makki and Fazl e Haqq Khairabadi, waded in this controversy and took issue with Shah Ismail. And the reason is that the ramifications of the debate about Imkan-e-Nazir-e-Muhammadi does not stop at the theoretical possibility of creating another Muhammad but goes to the very heart of the nature of God Himself. For if we accept that God can lie, then the very word of God contained in the Quran becomes doubtful. If God can lie, then there is no guarantee that Muhammad was actually a prophet sent by Him with an eternal and everlasting message for all mankind. In short, the entire edifice of the Muslim belief could collapse if we accept the premise of a God who is also capable of lying. It is because of this reason that the Ulama have devised ways to “prove” that Allah cannot lie. The foremost “restorer”, Ghazali, completely negates such a possibility of a lying God. He argues that “lying [from God] can be ruled out for it is a feature of speech, and the speech of God is not a voice that it could be mistaken. Rather it is an attribute subsisting in His exalted self. For everything that a human knows, there is in his self a declaration about what he knows that is in accordance with his knowledge, and falsity is inconceivable here. It is similar in the case of God, the exalted” (Al Iqtisad Fil Itiqad). On the question of Prophethood, Ghazali tells us to observe regularity and patterns in the universe created by God. For example, all observed cases of fire coming in contact with dry cotton have been followed by the cotton being burned. Thus, we can be justified, Ghazali says, in believing that next time fire comes in contact with dry cotton, it will lead to the same result. But in the case of God creating miracles in support of impostors, there seems to be no observable pattern or regularity to which the mind can appeal to. Ghazali, therefore, concludes that God does not empower impostors as prophets; that prophets are prophets because they are ordained by God and because God has made them on a regular basis. The Ulama also devoted considerable time and energy to prove the truthfulness of Prophethood. For if it is in the power of God to do anything and everything, it is also possible for him to exalt an impostor (rather than a real prophet) and make him do miracles. How then do we actually know that Muhammad was really a prophet and that his message is true for all eternity? Ulama like Fakhruddin Razi weighed in on the issue and argued that it cannot be “conclusively shown that everyone whom God the exalted supports is truthful. This can only be assumed if it is established that lying is impossible of God. If one denies the intrinsic goodness or evilness of God’s actions, then how can we know that it is impossible that He is lying?” Razi argues that it is impossible for God to lie as lying is a sign of imperfection which God cannot be. Moreover, ‘miracles’ attest to the divine mission of the true prophet. Citing the example of Moses, Razi concludes that all prophets have been imbued with miraculous powers, an attribute which can be given to them by God, the exalted. Impostors can exist, but they cannot perform miracles. But these “proofs” certainly do not answer the moot question asked. This moot question is present in Plato’s Euthyphro, where Socrates asks whether “the pious” is simply what the gods command or whether the gods only command what is intrinsically pious. Do acts like pillage, murder or helping the poor have intrinsic moral qualities which is why God forbids or commands them? Or is it the other way round: that acts like stealing and killing are evil simply because God forbids them. What the Barelvi Alim I spoke to perhaps didn’t know is that within the Islamic tradition, the predominant view on the issue has been the latter: that acts are good or evil depending on the command of God. The two dominant schools of the Asharis and the Maturudis favoured this view, which can be termed as “divine command ethics”. However, schools like the Mutazila and some branches of Shi’ism favour Plato’s own position that social acts have intrinsic moral qualities. Since Mutazilas went out of fashion fairly early in Islamic history, we can say that the predominant view within Islamic theology was that of the Asharis. They believe God is not bound by human prejudices concerning good and bad. He may do as He pleases and is not accountable for what He does. The Asharis have been the greatest propagators of the “divine command ethics”, which argues that everything must necessarily come from God; that He alone is the ultimate cause of everything. But this raises the following question: if nothing has intrinsic moral value apart from the divine fiat and God is free to do and command as He pleases, then is there any reason to believe that He is bound to tell us the truth? For example, He promises that worshippers will be rewarded with a place in heaven but is He bound to keep this promise? A further related problem with the “divine command guidance” is this: what guarantee is there that God has not enabled impostors and liars to produce miracles in support of their claims of being divinely instituted “spokesmen” of God? For the Mutazila, the answer was simple: that God is perfect and hence He cannot lie as the latter is a sign of imperfection. However, a similar claim cannot be made by the Asharis like Razi and Ghazali because they do not believe that things or acts can have innate or intrinsic qualities. They belong to the school where everything must necessarily come from God, including lying or truthfulness. In the writings of Razi and Ghazali, we see their discomfort in answering this question. At times, they invoke the scripture (since the Quran is true, God also must be true) but this recourse is boringly circular which takes us nowhere. At other times, they use the Mutazila principle that lying is intrinsically evil, thereby contradicting their own Ashari philosophy. This is not just a theological question but has deep implications for Muslim society and polity. If we acknowledge that acts have qualities which are independent of God, then we can be moral without being God fearing. Such ethical and moral values have the power to organize societies and government without any reference to a God or a religion. It is perhaps this realization of secular possibilities that made the Asharis like Ghazali come after the Mu’tazillas and other rational philosophers, declaring them to be outside the pale of Islam. The question is still being asked in various forms. But there is perhaps nothing in the intellectual arsenal of the dominant school in Islam which can answer it. ----- A regular contributor to, Arshad Alam is a writer and researcher on Islam and Muslims in South Asia. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Pakistan Is an Enigma: When Religion Becomes the Weltanschauung of a Nation, Freedom of Intellectuals Are Bound To Be Compromised

By Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam 29 May 2023 A Person of Pakistani Origins Author: Ziauddin Sardar Publisher: Hurst & Company, London Year of Publication: 2018 Pages: 229 ISBN: 9781849049870 ------ Pakistan is an enigma. The partition of the Indian continent and birth of Pakistan, created innumerable problems and challenges for migrants and those who found themselves in Pakistan. Every new nation, has to explain its origins, so a grand narrative is prepared to situate a nation in a certain context. Then, a history needs to be invented to justify the grand narrative. All these tragedies have happened with Pakistan. It still continues to baffle with numerous challenges, some of which even threaten its very existence. The role of an intellectual and historian is very central in such a new nation, but when religion becomes the Weltanschauung of any nation, then freedom of intellectuals and facts of history are bound to be compromised. Ziauddin Sardar, is a person of Pakistani origin settled in United Kingdom. He is a prolific writer and polymath, as this work informs the reader. But he is in dilemma, about his original pure land, “Here is my dilemma. When I want nothing to do with Pakistan, it clings on to me. When I want to get close to Pakistan, it repels me; just as often, I am repelled by it. So there is a perpetual tug of war constantly pulling in opposite directions. I have been trying to resolve this quandary for decades, with little success.” (P-8) He was treated badly in Pakistan and many times he pledged never to return, but then there is a magnetic attraction that draws Sardar time and again towards it. Pakistanis are demonized in the West, the image that is reinforced through blasphemy laws. On the one hand, Pakistani masses hate West, particularly Uncle Sam, but then the ruling clique and masses expect it to save them from crisis. This crisis mostly is economic in nature, so expectation of Aid from U.S is always welcomed. This Love/Hate relationship between US and Pakistan can explain some roots of the contemporary crisis faced by this young nation. To add insult to injury the spread of puritanical Islam in Pakistan has its background, context and repercussions too. Add to it corruption, nepotism, red tapism, lack of institutionalization and little hope of improvement in the course of things, and we are glaring at a deadly mix religion and politics. This lethal combination has resulted in the religious fanaticism, terrorism and violence that Pakistan finds itself mired with today. Then we find Sardar as youth growing up in Pakistan, with the craze for detective novels written by Ibn e Safi. A whole generation of youth devoured his novels, whose popularity can be understood from the fact that many writers faked, plagiarized and copied his style, plot and characters of his novels. Then he mentions a study of religious books written by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi, one of the founding ideologues of Deobandi school of thought and novels written by Deputy Nazir Ahmad. But he wrongly attributes Bahishti Zewar (Ornaments of Heaven) to Hafiz Muhammad Ali Sahibi (P-72), although it is a famous work of Thanwi. These essays have an autobiographical streak too, coupled with academic tinge and engaging social commentary on life around him. There is a mention of a certain auntie who created havoc as Sardar brought a lady friend home, his mother was aghast and the auntie thought he has committed Zina (adultery). Thus, the contrast of life between Pakistan and London is manifested in variegated aspects of Sardar’s life. However, the Muslim South Asian families carried the cultural baggage with them. So, they always existed in a different world of their own making that they safeguarded vigilantly against the Firangis (English). The reader also gets to understand the dual lives and lies of South Asians in Britain. The environment at his home, is quite lovely, lively and happy with poetry and he had his share of movie outings. Then he is too much influenced by the character of Dilip Kumar (Yousuf Khan) and his movies. He reviews his movies and they certainly played a role in shaping the South Asian Diaspora in Britain. Dilip Kumar was a man of principles, socially engaged and involved with community issues and always had an ear to the ground. Cinema, radio and movies influenced people and how they depicted the issues reflected and represented what was going on in the society. Sardar implores the same in these words, “I grew up not just immersed in the metaphors of these texts, but thinking with them; they were part of my vocabulary, they were embedded in my imagination. My love of tradition, of poetry and language; my distaste for social inequalities and concern for social justice; my devotion to unconditional, selfless love; my quest to rescue traditional idealism from ossified traditional societies; my determination to act against the helplessness and impotence generated by westernized modernity-can all be traced back to the impact that Dilip Kumar and Guru Dutt had on my imagination.” (P-122-123) Then we are made aware about Ehsan Danish, his poetry, Ghazal and its nuances, as well as about the deaths of legendary poets like Mahir ul Qadri and Hafeez Jalandhari. The death of these poets ended a great era of Urdu poetry and now the state of vernacular Urdu language in India is dismal. With each passing day Urdu is dying a slow death in India. An exciting essay is dedicated to his maternal uncle, Waheed Maamu, his exploits as a mystic and social worker. Quite late Sardar, discovers how his Maamu is a reverend Sufi mystic who enjoys an elevated status in the eyes of his disciples and now a mausoleum constructed on his grave speaks volumes about his spiritual majesty. This book although a collection of essays is an engrossing read, and offers insights about what it meant to be growing up in altogether different worlds. Sardar navigates quite nicely in both these worlds and helps the reader understand different influences that went into making an intellectual and writer out of Sardar. This book offers a deep complex kaleidoscopic view that contributed to the making of Ziauddin Sardar as a prominent Muslim intellectual. -------- M.H.A. Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Some Humble Suggestions to Those Who Want To Read Early Persian Poets and Their Poetry

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 29 May 2023 I'm happy that the scholarly reader and a regular contributor Mr Arshad Alam has evinced interest in reading the early Persian poetry of Rudaki, Daqiqi, Fazin, Azari Tusi, Baba Tahir Oryan, Badriddin Hilali, Imrani, among others. But before that I'd like to discuss the attribution errors Persian literature is rife with. More or less this issue of fallacious attributions/ghost writing has plagued literature of all languages. Mr Ghulam Mohiyuddin will fall in with me that even the Bard of Avon couldn't come out of that as his entire oeuvre is said to have been either written by Sir Francis Bacon (The Baconian Theory of Shakespeare Authorship is still debated) or Christopher Marlowe, that Geoffrey Chaucer's ' Canterbury Tales ' was partly written by his unnamed secret paramour who was 21 years his senior and the wife of a baron. Correct me if I'm wrong. But the maximum instances of this phenomenon are found in the history of Persian literature. For example, Arshad Sahab has quoted Baba Farid's: کاگا کرنگ ڈھڈولیا سگلا کھائیا ماس ایہہ دو نینا مت چھوہیو پر دیکھن کی آس Kaaga Karang Dhadoliya Saglaa Khaaiyo Mass/ Aey Do Nainaan Mat Chhuchho Pir Dekhan Ki Aas (O crow! come and peck all this flesh over this skeletal frame of mine, Leave these two eyes untouched for they are in wait of that Grand beloved of mine ) And, Kabir's: کاگا سب تن کھائیو چن چن کھائیو ماس دو نیناں مت کھائیو پیا ملن کی آس कागा सब तन खाइयो चुन चुन खाइयो मांस दो नैना मत खाइयो (मोहे) पिया मिलन की आस (Kaaga Sab Tan Khaiyo Chun-Chun Khaiyo Maas/Do Naina Mat Khaiyo (Mohe) Piya Milan Ki Aas) Now the interesting thing is, I came across Professor Habibul Alam's article, "Mool Persian Kobi Aar Paroborti Kobi " (Original Persian Poets and later poets/ Desh, Jan 1, 1973). The erudite professor taught Bangla Lit. at Rajshahi University, Bangladesh, and had a workable knowledge of Urdu. He argued that neither Kabir nor Farid did (originally) write or create it. A Muslim poet, Suhur, who wrote in early Bangla, said it circa 920 CE: Kaak Irut Mari Daa, Sab Daa Maar/Du Chaakh Sariya, Peeti Aar Kaak: Crow in Bangla (still prevalent), Mari Da (Mrit Deh: Dead body), Irut: eating (esp. flesh), Chaakh (old Bangla for Chokh: Eyes), Sariya: Barring, Peeti aar (Awaiting beloved) But even before that, one unnamed poet wrote in Avesta nearly 3,500 years ago: Tanam Saz Idinam Shighal Siddim/ Shee Az Naan Ridhim (here he used shighal/shigaal, fox, in place of a crow). It's worthwhile to mention that the Sanskrit word Shrigaal for a fox is still Shighaal/Shigaal (with Ghain or Gaaf, alternative orthography is common in Middle Persian) in Persian. By the way, Avesta is not a functional language any longer and is used only for the liturgical purpose in Zoroastrianism. It was a precursor of Pahlavi and Pahlavi gave birth to Persian. So, who wrote or said it first still remains a puzzle. But at the same time, one finds Persian's long and meandering history of linguistic assimilation quite interesting. Arshad Sahab will agree with me that the Avesta couplet that I quoted is closer to Sanskrit than to any form or derivative of Persian, Middle/ Medieval/ Modern Persian. Nearly 4 thousand years ago, Sanskrit and Avesta were sister languages. That's why, you find 14, 000 common words in both the languages. ‘Asp’ in Persian is 'Ashva' (horse) in Sanskrit. 'Abhra' (Cloud in Sanskrit) is 'Abra' in Persian. The list is interminable. Though early poets of Farsi like Rudaki and Daqiqi wrote in 'modern' Persian, at times it's extremely difficult to understand their expressions which were taken from Avesta as both came from Zoroastrianism. For example, I couldn't understand the words ' Vaqtam' (Waw/Qaaf/Toye/Meem) and ' Danpan ' Daal/ Noon/Pe/Noon) until I learnt Sanskrit! Vaqtam is Vyakti (individual) in ancient Persian and Danpan is a distortion of Devanam Priye (euphemism for a 'fool' in Sanskrit). Till the 11th century, all early Persian poets were using these two mutilations of Sanskrit in the context of an individual and Bewaqoof. The biggest challenge a researcher of Persian language faces is its extreme derivative diversity. All Persian poets and mystics were polyglots writing in almost nine Central Asian tongues simultaneously. For example, the 4th Masnavi of Rumi had Persio-Turkish verses as he was at home with Turkish and passed away there. He was entombed in Konya in Turkey. Attar and Rumi were writing in Tajik and Uzbeki as alternatives to Persian! In fact, both are separate from Persian. It's like Vidyapati, Senapati and Jaydev writing in Maithili and calling it early Hindi. Maithili is closer to Bangla than it's to Hindi. One faces this structural hurdle while studying Persian chronologically. I shall suggest Mr Arshad that he approach Raza Library, Rampur, Khuda Bakhsh Library, Patna, National Library Calcutta and The School of Oriental and African Studies, London for the early Persian works of Daqiqi and Rudaki along with annotations. I'm told, one can get photocopies of the original works. By the way, one doesn't face this issue of linguistic intrusions while studying Arabic language and literature because if you know Arabic, you can understand the language of the Seven Odes of Pre-Islamic Arabia, Quranic Arabic, Post-Quranic Arabic, Medieval Arabic and the Modern form of it. Mr GGS will concur with me. But this is not the case with Persian. It needs annotations to understand its early forms and poetry written in them. A smattering of Sanskrit does help in this regard. One need not go into the details of Panini's Ashtadhyayi and Bhattoji Dikshit's Siddhant kaumudi. Just a superficial knowledge of Sanskrit Semantics will suffice. ---- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Why Iranian Native Speakers Of Persian Look Down Upon The Subcontinental Persian

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 27 May 2023 "Farsi is still taught in a few schools of Calcutta as an optional subject. Some colleges, such as Lady Brabourne and Maulana Azad, have Farsi departments. Hearing the Farsi words coming out of their classrooms, it seems as though the Bengali tongue has forgotten how to pronounce Farsi words. The students could not read the inscriptions on St John’s Church, even though most were Muslims, familiar with Urdu." Arshad Saheb asked me in the comment section whether I knew the Misra-e-Saani (second line) of a couplet written by Amir Khusrau. I admit, I don't know. While there's no alibi or justification for not being aware of the Misra-e-Saani of Khusrau's Persian couplet, I must present a case study of subcontinental Persian's perceived inferior status vis-a-vis Persian of the native speakers of Iran. You might be surprised to learn that Iranian students and even scholars are not well-exposed to the sub-continental Persian and its exponents like Ghalib, Iqbal, Amir Khusrau, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Urfi (a Persian poet from Shiraz who spent the second half of his life in India at the court of Akbar), Hali Panipati, Mir, Momin, to name but a few). While studying in Khorasan, I hardly read Amir Khusrau's Persian poetry despite my mother tongue/s being Dari and Persian. Apart from Amir Khusrau's oft-quoted ' Kafir-E-Ishqam Musalmani Mara Darkaar Neest....' I read only a couple of Persian couplets written by him: Tu Shabana Mi Numaai Be Barkay Boodi Imshab, Ke Hunooz Chashm-E Mastat Asar-E Khumar Daarad (You look sleepless, in whose embrace did you pass the night; Your intoxicated eye has still the signs of tipsiness) and Mun Tu Shudam Tu Mun Shudi, Mun Tun Shudam Tu Jaan Shudi/Taakas Na Guyad Baad Azeen, Mun Deegaram Tu Deegari (I have become you, and you me, I am the body, you soul; So that no one can say hereafter that you are are someone, and me someone else). Iranians are too proud of their culture, language and heritage and look down upon anything outside their socio-linguistic periphery. Etymologically, Iran and Aryan (epitome of racial supremacy) are the same. Just like Oxford, Cambridge, Harrow, Eton and Rugby hardly taught Indian English and its writers and poets till the late 50s, Iranians never bothered to expose their children and students to the sub-continental Persian. They call Persian of the sub-continent, 'Falahal Qee Az'daz ' (originally a Dari phrase for ' utter nonsense'). Ayatollah Khomeini openly said that Iran never considered Iqbal's Persian poetry as something worthwhile. ' It's rooted in Urdu, ' Khomeini would say. Khusro's Persian was seen as full of local idioms of the sub-continent, therefore, worth-rejecting. Ghalib's Persian was considered as thousands notches below the poetry of Jami, Rumi, Attar and Sanai. The general tenor in Iran regarding the Persian of the sub-continent is still unchanged. This pontificating attitude towards the Persian of India and Pakistan never let the Indo-Persian poets earn accolades and encomiums from the toffee-nosed Iranians, who're so disdainful just like the anglicized V S Naipaul who once said of Tagore's English, " If you want to spoil your English in an hour, read Tagore." Iranian critic Nasrullah Agyeen said almost the same of Iqbal, " Read Iqbal's Persian poetry if you ain't proud of Iranian Persian." I got a little exposure to Indo-Persian literature only when I went back to England. There I read Iqbal's Persian poetry for the first time. It was Zabur-i-Ajam (زبور عجم, Persian Psalms), written in a kind of Persian I was not very familiar with. A lifetime is not enough to read and learn. Bee Aamoz Ta-Zindai (there's no end to learning). I came to India a few years ago. Let me be familiar with the Persian of this land and its great writers and mystics like Amir Khusrau, Bedil and Shibli Nomani. Lastly, as a native Farsi speaker, I cannot grasp anything when the Indian students and even teachers of Persian recite poetry in Persian. The reason being, none can speak it as an everyday language. The students in the Bachelor’s programme as well as some completing their Master’s must go back to the Farsi alphabet, to learn its correct sound and to distinguish letters like “f” and “p,” which are often pronounced in a similar way due to their vernacular accent. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

An Overview Of Freedom Which Is A Core Islamic Principle And A Prerequisite For Human Dignity - Part – 3

By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam 27 May 2023 Social Freedom and Islam Main Points: 1. Social freedoms are all aspects of freedom that relate to a person's individual life. 2. Ali Shariati's analysis shows how capitalism can turn certain individuals into slaves, but it is a significant event that slavery under ownership has been abolished. 3. Freeing slaves is the path to paradise while enslaving free people is the opposite. 4. Islam encourages religious freedom and accepts freedom of expression, promoting objectivity. 5. Punishment for Apostasy was a political issue. ------ Social or civic freedoms are all aspects of freedom that relate to a person's individual life while they are a part of society. It encompasses all freedoms, including the freedom of thought, the freedom of expression, the freedom of belief, and the freedom of man from the idea of being owned as a slave. At this stage, it is challenging to go into great depth on each aspect of social freedom. It would be acceptable to go into further depth about the two fundamental freedoms that comprise all the others. The first is one's personal freedom, which entails the utter abolition of being an owner’s slave, and the second is one's freedom of conscience. Slavery under ownership has been the worst circumstance for freedom and honour in human history. And for a long, it was a part of almost every human community, with only minor changes in shape and appearance. It has been widely believed that slavery had almost entirely disappeared from the earth since a global resolution to end slavery was passed around a century ago. We fully acknowledge that the West has eradicated a particular and the worst form of slavery. If slavery has truly been entirely abolished, this question is likewise crucial. Are all people now fully free? Is there any kind of ownership or control over people? In this sense, Ali Shariati's analysis, a renowned Muslim intellectual and sociologist, is extremely significant since it shows how capitalism, via various forms of exploitation, also turns certain individuals into slaves to others. The only variation is the type of enslavement. However, it is a significant and momentous event that slavery under ownership has been abolished. What was the Islamic perspective on slavery? Misunderstandings on this matter are common in general and in the West in particular. It is also thought that Islam, to some extent, accepted slavery, and regrettably, this opinion is more prevalent. But there has been a clear and satisfying discourse about the Islamic standpoint among many great scholars and intellectuals. In conclusion, Islam viewed slavery as an unjust practise and made every effort to end it. The specifics are that historically, it was recognised that using prisoners of war as slaves was the primary or most significant method. Islam has made its stance on the issue of prisoners of war being offered just one of two alternatives clear: either release them in exchange for a favour or release them in exchange for payment of a ransom (Surah Muhammad: 47:4). On the other hand, Islam liberated the existing slaves whenever it had the chance. The question of why slavery persisted intellectually, legally, and practically throughout Islamic history, in spite of all these Quranic precepts, is crucial. In this regard, Dr. Shinqiti writes: It is feasible for some people to challenge history on the grounds of good faith, asking why slavery persisted throughout Islamic history despite the obvious and unequivocal teachings of the Qur'an. The historical parallels between this social enslavement and the same political servitude, which persisted throughout Islamic history in the guise of monarchy, are the answer. Therefore, it should be obvious to us that revelation itself will establish proof for history rather than history serving as a means of proving revelation, as stated in “Al-Azmat al-Dusturiya fi al-Hadaarat al-Islamiyyah by Mukhtar al-Shinqiti.” Dr. Mohiuddin Ghazi made a crucial argument in this regard, namely that since the Qur'an makes it explicit that freeing slaves is the path to paradise, it follows that enslaving free people is the exact opposite of paradise and the path to hell. Enslavement through any means other than battle was outlawed entirely by this fundamental Meccan principle of the Qur'an. Regarding the freedom of conscience, three key points can be raised. Freedom of thought comes first, followed by freedom of speech, and last, freedom of religion and belief. These three freedoms, which are what Western philosophers and intellectuals often find here, are also guaranteed by the constitutions of the majority of countries. However, there are practically unparalleled intemperance in the West when it comes to the freedom of conscience. Unquestionably, the right to freedom of speech is a fundamental freedom. However, morality loses importance in this freedom. Religious freedom was also a major focus of Islam. But Islam is thought to be both appealing and adaptable. There are advantages and increased objectivity. Islam appreciates and accepts freedom of expression, which should go without saying. No modern source contains the concept of intellectual independence that the Holy Qur'an emphasises. The writings of contemporary Islamic intellectuals make it abundantly evident that Islam has not only completely acknowledged all of these freedoms but has also prized them and declared it necessary to remove the obstacles standing in their way. This is true notwithstanding the historical and social circumstances of the Muslims. Unfortunately, the Muslims not only lost sight of these freedoms but also started to reject them to some extent. In Muslim society, there are often two concepts addressed in relation to freedom of thinking. The first is that this will have a number of effects and cause division among Muslims. The second assumption is that if the freedom of thinking is not controlled, myths will start to develop within the religion and it would no longer be safe and secure. According to Abdul Majeed Najjar, a well-known and prominent thinker and writer in the world of Islam (see: The role of freedom of opinion in intellectual unity), the freedom of thought and expression will not lead to dissension but rather will be a long-lasting and stable unity of freedom and it will foster harmony among Muslims. (see: Fikri Wahdat Me Aazaadi Raai Ka Kirdar). Regarding the second issue, it may be claimed that everyone will unquestionably have total freedom to choose their own attitude or perspective regarding the outcomes of deliberation if they are given the right to deliberate. How would anything irrational presented in such a situation be accepted? When the Qur'an ends all forms of resistance and coercion in religious affairs by declaring La Ikrah fi al-Din, Taha Jaber Alwani asks how it is possible for it to impose any limitations on other facets of thought and contemplation. On the other side, one of the main objectives of battle is the eradication of any obstruction to introspective or religious freedom according to the Qur'an. However, it's critical to draw attention to a crucial factor in this case. Muslims generally believe that, while Islam does, in theory, provide for total religious freedom, changing one's religion is punishable by death. This is the consensus among scholars, but there have been many Muslim scholars, thinkers, and global movement leaders who are deserving of mention in modern times, including Imam Rashid Raza, Imam Ibn Ashoor, Allama Abu Zahra, Allama Taha Jabir Alwani, Allama Hasan Turabi, Rashid Ghannouchi, Inayatullah Subhani, Ali Qurah Daghi, and Jasser Ouda. These scholars have explained their position, which is that apostasy will not be punished and that all people have the right to practise their religion freely. Islam offers complete freedom in this regard, just as it does with regard to general religious freedom. In this regard, Rached Ghannouchi writes: "The occurrences (of apostasy) were not those of conversion but rather of rebellion against the Islamic authorities. For instance, war would be declared against that group and it would be acknowledged as a revolt against the government if they blatantly refused to pay taxes to the government. War would also be necessary if that group decides to arm itself. Apostasy wasn't a religious issue; it was a political one. Because of this, some scholars consider it to be a severe punishment and allow the court option to reduce the sentence or offer a pardon. However, another group believes it to be a Hadd punishment. The reason for this difference is our inability to find out explicit textual support for this idea in the Quran. Another point is that the first incident of this nature also occurred after the Prophet's passing. (Rached Ghannouchi, Democracy and Human Rights in Islam) This viewpoint, which maintains that a person must have the right to accept any religion, is supported by the framework of freedom and its theoretical underpinnings. In conclusion, Islam fully established social freedom and demanded that individuals adopt Islam based on their free will, the validity of the reasons presented by Allah Almighty, and the signs He revealed in the Quran. (Continued) Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. ----- Previous Parts: An Overview Of Freedom Which Is A Core Islamic Principle And A Prerequisite For Human Dignity - Part – 1 An Overview Of Freedom Which Is A Core Islamic Principle And A Prerequisite For Human Dignity - Part – 2 URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Muslimophobia in India: Reasons and Remedy (Part Two)

By A. Faizur Rahman 27 May 2023 (With Permission from the author to publish this chapter ‘Muslimophobia in India: Reasons and Remedy’ from the Book 'Politics of Hate -Religious Majoritarianism in South Asia' Edited by Farahnaz Ispahani) ------ Hindutva Hindutva owes its popularity to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (1883–1966), the Hindu Mahasabha leader who had made it the pivotal theme of his 1923 essay ‘Essentials of Hindutva’ (retitled ‘Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu?’ in 1928). The idea itself, however, had been introduced in Bengal during the 1890s by Chandranath Basu (1844–1910) in his Bengali essay ‘Hindutva—an Authentic History of the Hindus’, which extolled the superiority of Hinduism over other religions. Around the same time, another Bengali writer, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838–1894), invoked Hindutva to arouse the Hindus. His provocative 1882 novel Anandamath fictionalized Hindu nationalistic sentiments in Bengal by narrating how ‘everyone was angry with the Muslims for the anarchy and lawlessness of their reign’, and how Hindus were keen to establish a sense of Hindutva because ‘Hindu rule of life had disappeared’ (Hindudharmer Bilope Anek Hindui Hindutva Sthapaner Janya Agrahacitta Chila). Interestingly, even the concept of Bharat Mata and the Hindus-are- in-danger notion appear to have had their origins in nineteenth- century Bengal. However, it is Savarkar’s interpretation that forms the basis of Hindutva today. It ideologically links Hindutva with the term Hindu, which Savarkar defined as one who (1) regards the entire subcontinent as his fatherland (Pitrubhu), (2) is descended of Hindu parents and (3) and considers this land holy (Punyabhu).4 These three conditions signify a common nation (Rashtra), a common race (Jati) and a common civilization (Sanskriti), respectively. And together they form the foundation on which Hindutva rests. This understanding has a lot in common with the theory of Aryanism which postulates that the Hindu race, because of its pre- eminence in every department of human activity, is the greatest nation that has flourished yet on this earth. And the religion of this nation, unlike ‘other religions’, is not a confession of weakness or an admission of human helplessness that relies on an external power for salvation. It is an embodiment of the dignity and independence of the ‘supreme manhood’ of its adherents. Their land (India) too is masculine (Pitrubhu). In Aryan terms, it is called Aryavarta (the abode of the Aryas) and encompasses the Gangetic plains of north India, Rajasthan and Punjab, where the Aryas settled after defeating various local savage people. They are believed to be the descendants of the nomadic pastoralist people mentioned in the Rig Veda who came to India around 2,000 BCE. However, for a section of the Hindu right today, the Aryas were not outsiders. The ‘eternal and unhistorical’ nature of their religion makes them the autochthonous inhabitants of Aryavarta. The emergence of India after Independence as a secular, democratic republic under Nehru saw the advocates of Hindu nationalism go into a state of political quiescence, especially after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in January 1948, which led to the ban on the RSS, a prominent Hindutva organization, on suspicion of being involved in the killing. This dormancy lasted beyond the assassination of Indira Gandhi, who had also banned the RSS during the infamous Emergency (1975–77). But Hindutva could not be suppressed for long. It was back on form in the 1980s when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), another Hindu nationalist organization, started a movement for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya at the very spot where the sixteenth century Babri Masjid stood, claiming it to be the place where Lord Ram was born. The VHP’s campaign came soon after the formal launch of the BJP in April 1980, which lost no time in announcing its support for the movement, perhaps as an act of political expediency. One of the BJP’s prominent leaders, Lal Krishna Advani, embarked on a provocative pro-temple Rath Yatra (chariot journey) in 1990 to Ayodhya from Somnath in Gujarat. Since then, Hindutva has dominated the national discourse. On 6 December 1992, the Babri Masjid was demolished by a huge mob, sparking riots across the country. Although commitments were made to restore the status quo ante of the disputed site and rebuild the mosque at the same place, they were never honoured. Meanwhile, thanks to Hindutva, the BJP widened its political footprint and found itself in the seat of power with a landslide victory in May 2014. After assuming office, the party did try to arrange an out-of-court settlement of the mosque–temple imbroglio, but in vain. Finally, in November 2019, within months of the BJP winning a second term, the Supreme Court of India decided the case in favour of the temple being built there. This was followed by the acquittal of all the thirty-two accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, including L.K. Advani. Although this brought closure to the longest Hindu–Muslim dispute in the history of India, legal scholars criticized both judgments. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was, however, certain that ‘Hindutva is the essence of this (Hindu) Rashtra’s ‘swa’ (selfhood). We are plainly acknowledging the selfhood of the country as Hindu.’ Soon, huge rallies were launched to collect funds for the construction of the new Ram temple in Ayodhya. In one such VHP rally organized in Delhi in January 2021, provocative slogans were raised invoking Hindu Talwarein (swords) and Trishul (tridents) as a warning to those who presumed Hindus to be weak, but not just that—Kar Sevaks (volunteers) from the locality who were in Ayodhya during the demolition of the Babri Masjid were honoured. Reasons for Muslimophobia A deeper analysis of the Hindu right’s historical Muslimophobia would reveal that the main reason for it was not Islam but a sense of political insecurity born out of exaggerated fears of a Muslim demographic threat. These anxieties came to the fore in 1905 when Bengali Hindus vehemently opposed the partition of Bengal into the provinces of ‘Bengal’ in the west and ‘Eastern Bengal and Assam’ in the east. They apprehended that it would reduce them to a minority in the western province and launched such intense protests that the British were forced to revoke the decision in 1911. In Punjab, too, it was feared that the Punjab Land Acquisition Act of 1900 would force Hindus—‘sons of the soil and its most ancient inhabitants’—out of agriculture and into other competitive professions, because of which they were in danger of becoming a minority not just in Punjab, but in all of India.58 The bogey of Muslim political domination was raised again when the Indian Councils Act of 1909 introduced separate electorates for them. While the cry of ‘Hindus in danger’ was raised by certain Punjabi Hindus led by Lajpat Rai, Lal Chand and Munshi Ram, others sought to convince the Hindus of the importance of Shuddhi and Sangathan. That apart, petitions for cow protection were circulated, and steps were taken to form separate associations for the Hindu and Muslim press. What is astonishing is that even a great liberal-minded jurist like B.R. Ambedkar suspected the loyalty of Muslims. His fear was that with the Indian army being predominantly Muslim in its composition, and with most of these Muslims being drawn from Punjab and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), in the event of a foreign invasion from the north-west by a Muslim neighbour like Afghanistan, Muslims might join the invader rather than defend India, and would almost certainly disobey orders if India were to ever decide to invade Afghanistan. Ambedkar, therefore, wanted Hindus to welcome Pakistan’s separation from India so as to have a ‘safe army’. He also rhetorically asked them whether it was better to have the Muslims ‘without and against or if they should be within and against’. The best option, therefore, was to concede the territory of Pakistan, for that was ‘the only way of getting rid of the Muslim preponderance in the Indian Army’. Ambedkar had another important reason for conceding Jinnah’s demand for a separate Muslim state. He felt that without Pakistan, the ‘communal problem’ would involve 65 million Muslims, while after its creation, it would involve only 20 million Muslims in India. This would greatly reduce the proportion of Muslim to Hindu seats in central and provincial legislatures in India, which would fall even further once weightage was cancelled. It would also ‘free the Hindus from the turbulence of Muslims as predominant partners’. In fact, long before Hindutva parties accused the post-Partition Congress of Muslim appeasement, Ambedkar had warned the party, saying that its policy of appeasement and concession would only exacerbate Muslim aggressiveness, for they would interpret it as a sign of Hindu defeatism. The Hindus might thus find themselves in the same fearful situation that the Allies found themselves in as a result of their appeasement policy towards Hitler. Notwithstanding Ambedkar’s shocking views, one would have expected the Hindu right’s unfounded worries of Muslim ascendancy to end or subside after India’s independence. But they continued to be highlighted periodically. In September 2004, the VHP working president of north Gujarat region, Chinubhai Patel, expressing alarm at the 36 per cent rise in the decadal growth of Muslims reported in the 2001 census, said that the community was ‘conspiring to convert “Hindu Rajya” into Muslim country’ and urged the Hindus to get united and organized in ‘defeating’ the ‘purpose’ of the Muslims. VHP leader Ashok Singhal brought up the issue again in February 2014 by warning Hindus that their population was fast declining and if it continued at that pace, they would become a minority in India. He wanted Hindus to have five children so as not to let Muslims and Christians outnumber them through conversion or marriage with Hindu girls. More recently, BJP leader Surendra Singh said that Hindutva will become endangered in the next fifty years unless population control laws are enacted in the country. On 15 August 2019, in his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Modi also flagged the issue of population explosion and said that having a small family was a form of patriotism. His comments came a month after BJP Member of Parliament Rakesh Sinha introduced the Population Regulation Bill 2019 in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament. The bill inter alia states that whoever, in contravention of the small family norm, produces more than two children will receive reduced benefits under the Public Distribution System (PDS), will be eligible for loans from financial institutions but at higher than the existing interest rates, and will receive lower interest rates on saving instruments. Besides, such a citizen shall be disqualified from being chosen as a member of either the house of Parliament or of the state legislature or of any body of local self-government, i.e. panchayat or municipalities. Three years later, in April 2022, Sinha withdrew his bill when the federal Union Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, said that ‘population control should happen by creating awareness among people and it should not happen by force and being made compulsory’. Significantly, just a few days before this bill was introduced, hundreds of people gathered in Delhi along with some BJP leaders, including Union Minister Giriraj Singh, to demand a Population Control Law to ‘tackle the problem of declining Hindu population and to stop the rise of non-Hindu population’. It is astonishing that, Hindu leaders who speak in support of population control laws in India frame the discussion provocatively in terms of Muslims conspiring to numerically overwhelm the Hindus or to aggravate poverty. For instance, the chief minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, urged Muslims in his state to adopt ‘decent family planning’ norms to bring down poverty and control social problems. On 5 October 2022, speaking at a programme in Nagpur on the occasion of Vijayadashmi, the RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, warned that ‘population control and religion-based population balance is an important subject that can no longer be ignored’, because ‘population imbalances lead to changes in geographical boundaries. Alongside the differences in birth rate, conversions by force, lure or greed and infiltration are also big reasons.’ Once again, the RSS chief did not clarify what he meant by ‘religion-based population balance’ and which religion or religions he was referring to. Given this reality, medical anthropologist Nayantara Sheoran Appleton was forced to go on record stating that the idea of a ‘population explosion’ lends credence to the country’s already surging anti-Muslim sentiment which, she pointed out, is based on false concerns that the population growth of Muslims in India is quickly outpacing that of Hindus. Similar concerns were expressed by another disinterested non- Muslim commentator, Gurdeep Singh Sappal, against the CAA, passed in December 2019. He wrote that under this law, the majority of Hindus and other non-Muslims would have nothing to complain about when their citizenship was confirmed, but Muslim citizens who failed the citizenship test could go to detention centres or perhaps live as disenfranchised and disempowered people. Part One: Muslimophobia in India: Reasons and Remedy (Part One) URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Friday, May 26, 2023

Combat Sectarian Conflicts and Promote Religious Tolerance and Understanding

By Mohamad Ali El Husseini, New Age Islam Translated from Arabic by Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam 26 May 2023 Doctrinal Conflicts Do Not Produce Knowledge Main Points: 1. People on social media are using false information and dubious evidence to stir up conflict and controversy. 2. Persons with knowledge and insight, renowned scholars, and reliable people are best qualified to address the issue, which requires "wisdom and goodly exhortation". 3. We want to foster a culture of bridge-building by accepting the others, coexisting with them, and developing mutual respect while avoiding anything that could lead to conflict. 4. Promoting contentious matters improperly is corrupting, as it seeks to shake beliefs and disperse the nation. 5. Social media platform users and founders must forewarn and take measures to combat sectarian conflicts and promoters, as well as advance religious awareness and tolerance. ----- Through social media, there have been many people recently who highlight contentious and divisive issues among diverse Islamic schools of thought. Unfortunately, they do not seek to advance knowledge or show the truth through scientific proof. Rather, what we observe is incredibly sad because they want to exacerbate divisions, sow seeds of enmity, and attract a sizable audience of supporters who admire and think sectarian warfare is successful. It feels like they are in a wrestling match where the winner isn't the one with the best proof, but the one who can craft an argument that will stir up conflict and controversy, even if it's totally supported by false information and dubious evidence. Allah Almighty says in the Quran, “Do not follow what you have no sure knowledge of”. [Surah Isra: 36] Controversy Is A Two-Edged Sword That Can Cause Division or Open Up New Avenues for Comprehension Undoubtedly, when we address subjects that are contentious, it is not a horrible thing but rather an opportunity to introduce people to various viewpoints, have a discussion about them, and engage in idea with idea and argument with argument confrontation. It consists of two components, one of which is admirable and essential and the other of which is useless. The desired argument is one that establishes the truth, proves it, and dispels any scepticism. Allah, the Almighty, declares in this situation: “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and have disputations with them in the best manner; surely your Lord best knows those who go astray from His path, and He knows best those who follow the right way.” (16:125) Obviously, persons with knowledge and insight, renowned scholars, and reliable people are most qualified to address this issue. Since it includes prerequisites and tools that must be met in order for the discussion to be successful and reach its intended goals, it cannot be managed by a typical person. The argument with what is “wisdom and goodly exhortation” is one of the qualifications given in the noble verse mentioned above. This means that the argument must be backed up by facts and evidence and should be presented deftly and compassionately rather than with extremism, fanaticism, or excitement coupled with foul language. When the Mighty and the Almighty, our Lord, declared, "Had you been rough and hard-hearted, they would have dispersed from around you," (Verse 159 of the Surah Ale Imran), He forbade the rough and disliked conduct. Instead, He Almighty underlined the importance of enabling non-Muslims to learn Islam by communicating to them in a loving and tolerant manner. Allah Almighty says in the Quran, “And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, "We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (29:46) Regarding the debate that was brushed aside, it is one that encourages rivalry, animosity, and hostility while also making issues more complicated. Accordingly, Allah Almighty declares: “None disputes the signs of Allah except the disbelievers, so do not be deceived by their prosperity throughout the land.” (40:4) This type of argumentation was forbidden by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, and his companions) when he said: “No people are led astray after being guided but that they indulged in arguments.” Then, the Prophet recited the verse, “They strike an example for you only to argue. Rather, they are a quarrelsome people.” (43:58) (Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3253) Using Doctrines As a Topic of Conflict Can Be Detrimental To the Principle of Knowledge We want to foster a culture of real bridge-building by accepting the others for who they are, coexisting with them, and developing our mutual respect. Additionally, we wish to encourage the opening, construction, and development of the mosque for the Muslim community. We are even attempting to leave behind anything that might lead to conflict or take us back in time. We have made the decision to avoid everything that hinders our development or tries to stop us from comprehending our past, present, and future. While carrying out these actions, if severe arguments and pointless controversy are encouraged, they will regrettably result in hatred, mayhem, and unusual noise that will aid people with nefarious and suspicious agendas. We reiterate that controversial matters are extremely delicate and that expressing them improperly is corrupting. The purpose of those who promote contentious matters is as obvious as the sun in the fourth part of the day, which is to shake and strike beliefs and produce a condition of confusion and dispersion of the nation, not to spread information or familiarise people with the truth as they claim. Therefore, our noble Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The most hateful of men to Allah is the one given to fierce violent disputation." These individuals have forgotten that they will be held accountable for the horrible deeds that sparked civil unrest upon their return to God, which is certain to occur. Allah will say to the angels, “…And detain them, for they must be questioned.” (37:24) Therefore, it is crucial to make a wise decision in order to stop the sectarian conflicts and their promoters. Social media platform users and their founders must forewarn users and take numerous measures to combat these misguided persons in order to stop people from falling prey to their charms. Additionally, it is our collective responsibility to advance religious awareness as well as the principles of inclusivity, tolerance, peace, security and acceptance of everyone for who they are, regardless of our differences. ----- Mohamad Ali El Husseini is a Lebanese-born Saudi lecturer, author and researcher who specialises in Islam. He is renowned for his intellectual and political viewpoints. He has authored more than seventy books. His works include ‘The Danger of Sectarian Conflicts and Ways to confront them’ and ‘Towards a Moderate Islam’. Arabic Article: الجدل المذهبي لا ينتج معرفة URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism